Glam Metal

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Glam metal (also known as hair metal) is a subgenre of heavy metal that arose in the late 1970s and early 1980s in the United States, particularly on the Los Angeles Sunset Strip music scene. It was popular throughout the 1980s and briefly in the early 1990s, combining the flamboyant look of glam rock and playing a power-chord based hard rock musical style.

Musically, glam metal songs are traditional heavy metal songs with pop-influenced catchy hooks and guitar riffs. Like other heavy metal songs of the 1980s, they often feature shred guitar solos. Glam metal performers became infamous for their debauched lifestyles of late-night parties (widely covered in the tabloid press), very long backcombed hair, use of make-up, gaudy clothing and accessories (chiefly consisting of tight denim or leather jeans, spandex, and headbands). Many of these traits were reminiscent of glam rock.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glam_metal

Sub-genre collaborators (shared with Hard Rock and Heavy Metal):
  • 666sharon666 (Leader)

glam metal top albums

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RATT Out Of The Cellar Album Cover Out Of The Cellar
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HARD KNOX Psyco's R Us

Album · 1993 · Glam Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Glam metal had a good run of lasting from the late 70s to the early 90s before going extinct like the dinosaurs getting hit with an asteroid called grunge. But hey, there were some fortunes made with those pink spandex and hairspray videos. While the glam rock 2.0 scene got its start with bands such as Mötley Crue, Quiet Riot, Def Leppard, Bon Jovi and Dokken, by 1986 it seems every rock musician in the universe was jumping on the bandwagon however for every band like Poison, Skid Row or Warrant that found heavy rotation with videos on MTV and selling millions of albums, there were legions of wannabes who could muster up the chops to craft decent glam metal but didn’t quite have the cojones to stand out of the pack. In other words glam metal was stuffed to the brim with mediocre bands that were great at imitating but not able to forge an original spin.

That was true for many L.A. bands on the Sunset Strip so just imagine how much harder it would be to break into the glam boyz club if you’re from Helper, Utah. That’s where the band HARD KNOX came from. It’s just a little town situated a hundred miles or so south of Salt Lake City. HARD KNOX was one of countless glam metal bands that came to the party too late and arrived well after Nirvana and Alice In Chains had started the party next door. In fact many music lovers had already left before HARD KNOX barely got started but i guess things move on a different timeline in Utah. This short-lived band released this sole album PSYCHO’S R US which if you’re old enough will see from the cover art that it’s a play on the old Toyz R Us store chain. This band consisted of Therron Arrington (vocals), Chris Gigliotti (guitar), Perry "Tazman" Murphy (guitar), Kenny Deland (bass) and Bryant Watson (drums) and due to the fact this album pretty much flopped and the band broke up, little info exists.

This is a pretty standard glam metal album that sound like many bands of the late 80s. Think Dirty Looks, Dangerous Toys and Kix and you’re totally on the right track. There is also a wink and a nod to more popular bands like Skid Row and Guns N Roses but basically HARD KNOX was the epitome of a generic glam metal band that could check off all the boxes but offered little in terms of taking the genre in a new direction. PSCYHO’S R US sounds like any old glam metal album from the 1987 timeline so not only was the band late to the party but sounded quite dated because even glam metal bands like Ratt, Extreme and Poison had moved on and branched out in different directions by 1993. This original CD is now considered a collector’s item due to the fact so few copies were made but the album found a remastered reissue in 2016 on the Divebomb label as retro glam metal has made a comeback and some of the obscure artists like HARD KNOX always sound better decades down the road than in context with the swarms of similar sounding bands that existed at the time of release.

HARD KNOX really does check off all the late 80s glam metal boxes with bluesy pop influenced guitar riffs and energetic anthems about silly banal subject matter. Just check out some of the song titles like “Feels So Good” and “You’re A Mess” and you can just picture the spandex, makeup and overly androgynous visuals including the beloved choreographic kicking scenes in videos! Despite the cliche derivative nature of PSYCHO’S R US, this is a decent glam metal album chock full of dirty guitar distortion, chunky riffs, energetic fast tempo performances and even a power ballad in the form of “Not So Bad,” however Therron Arrington’s vocals are definitely an acquired taste and none of the tracks have that extra oomf that makes any of them memorable especially when compared to classic albums of the same genre. In the end not only was it too little too late for HARD KNOX but for me this is just an average run of the mill glam metal album that in my book doesn’t really deserve more than a listen or two. OK but nothing more.

MICHAEL MONROE One Man Gang

Album · 2019 · Glam Metal
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Kev Rowland
It doesn’t seem to matter who he has with him (although fellow ex-Hanoi Rocks bassist Sam Yaffa is a constant), Monroe will always continue to put out albums which sound just like Michael Monroe. I remember when Hanoi Rocks burst out of Finland and everyone was stunned by this band who looked and sounded as if they had just come off the Strip, and in many ways, he just has not changed. The title cut includes a guest appearance from none other than by Captain Sensible of The Damned. “It sometimes seems like everybody’s pissing on their own parade,” says Monroe,“whether that’s voting stupid people into power and then complaining about them or whatever, but I’m all about living with a P.M.A. – positive mental attitude – and I’ll never allow myself to be forced away from that.”

The only issue is that however he tries to push himself forward as an angry young man wearing make up and being glam to the max, he is now in his late Fifties and the anger and venom is no longer there. This is an album crying for an outside producer to maintain edge and lose the overarching smoothness which pervades every note. They may look fierce and menacing on the cover, but all of that is lost when one actually listens to the music. It is pleasant, and it is fun, but I must confess I would still much rather listen to ‘Bangkok Shocks, Saigon Shakes, Hanoi Rocks.’

POISON Seven Days Live

Live album · 2008 · Glam Metal
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Vim Fuego
OK, so I’m not a huge Poison fan. I was right into them at one stage though. I listened to “Open Up and Say... aah!” til the tape wore out (yes, back in the 80s), and I own “Look What The Cat Dragged In”, but then I stopped listening some time around the time I first heard “Unskinny Bop”. Being bored in lockdown, I had a quick squiz through my CD collection at a few albums I hadn’t listened to much, and came across “Seven Days Live”.

I don’t actually remember buying this particular album, let alone listening to it, and can’t understand why I would have bought it in the first place. After all, I parted company with Bret Michaels and the boys in the early 90s. I was in search of harder, faster music, and they certainly weren’t producing it. And besides, no self-respecting thrasher would admit to owning a Poison album. But I must have dragged this thing out of a bargain bin at some time. Poison were always the butt of jokes for their massive hairspray abuse, feminine looks, and CC De Ville’s supposed shortcomings as a guitar player. By the time this was recorded in early 1993, CC had been ejected due to tension in the band caused by his drug abuse problems, and hotshot guitar hero Richie Kotzen had taken his place. There was a joke circulating that Kotzen would have to wear boxing gloves to play as poorly as De Ville. Funny, but unkind.

So not being familiar with Kotzen-era Poison, this is all pretty new to me. What do we have? The first couple of songs I had no fucking idea about. Bland glam pabulum. This doesn’t seem promising. If the whole album is like this, it’s going to be hard going to get through this. Third song “Ride The Wind”? Oh fuck, I HAVE heard this before! I thought it was Bon Jovi. And no, that’s not necessarily a good thing.

The next track is “Good Love”, from “Open Up...”, but I didn’t recognise it at first because it had more of a blues rock swagger than the studio original. Yeah, nah, don’t fuck with it. It wasn’t the best song ever written to start with, but if you’re going to do it different, at least do it better!

“Your Mamma Don’t Dance”, the band’s infamous Loggins and Messina cover, has a 12 bar blues swagger missing from their studio version. This time it improved the song, bringing it closer to the Loggins and Messina version. It’s still a silly party anthem.

Brett announced “Body Talk” was off “Native Tongue” so I don’t know it, but this ain’t too bad. Bobby Dall’s bass is more than solid, and these guys nailed the backing vocals. Kotzen finally lets rip with a too short solo, and Michaels proves he’s actually a pretty fucking good singer. Who’d a thought it? I hadn’t. And then Kotzen comes back for a longer, more satisfying solo. And apparently he cut it off short, because it was meant to be Brett’s piss stop song. Never mind...

You know that horrible taste you get in the back of your throat when you almost-but-don’t-quite vomit? Yeah, that’s “Something To Believe In”. Being live doesn’t improve it.

And “Stand”. More wimpy bollocks which I had heard before, but this time thinking it was Extreme. I really wasn’t paying much attention to these bands at the time these songs came out. I have no idea who these power ballads belonged to because I was more concerned with Sepultura’s changing sound, whether Bolt Thrower’s bottom end could actually wreck your speakers, and looking forward to what Entombed were going to do next.

“Fallen Angel” was a rare (for Poison’s first two albums) thoughtful song. It’s about the pitfalls of seeking fame and fortune in the big city, which the band knew about too well. It seems to have some deeper meaning to them than some of the other songs. It could have been a weepy ballad, but it’s a driven rocker instead. It’s one of the highlights of the whole show.

“Look what The Cat Dragged In” was silly, harmless fun when it was released, and it’s silly harmless fun here. It’s the epitome of what glam metal was supposed to be all about. Rikki Rockett punctuated it with a drum solo, and you know what? He’s not bad. No, he’s not Nico McBrain or George Kollias, but he knows a good rock groove when he hears it. And the solo isn’t too long, so no chance for it to get boring.

Blame the Black Crowes for “Until You Suffer Some (Fire & Ice)”. They made everyone think Southern rock was cool again. Hey, it never wasn’t cool, but the Crowes inspired mush like this.

The band really shines on “7 Days Over You”. Yes, it’s more blues rock, but this time it’s done well. It’s one of those week-long hungover break-up songs, when you realise she’s not worth it. It’s the best of the Kotzen-era songs. He shows he’s got the wailing licks and rocking chops to make a real go of this sort of music.

And so just when you thought Poison had got too mature and serious, up pops the dopey duo of double entendre filled sexytime songs in “Unskinny Bop” and “Talk Dirty To Me”. These are the sort of dumb fun anthems that made cock rock popular in the first place, but also ultimately led to it’s demise.

Or was it the ballads? Nobody ever out-ballad-ed “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn”, the quintessential acoustic glam weepy. Michaels and Kotzen together on guitar add an extra layer to the original. And that voice. No, he’s not one of the all-time great singers, but this is a guy who had perfected his craft through years and years on the road, and can connect with his audience.

Imagine finishing a show on such a downer. Well, yeah, maybe a band like My Dying Bride could finish on something melancholic, but this is supposed to be one of the ultimate party rock bands, so the finale is a belting version of “Nothin’ But A Good Time”. And this is what this is – a band having a good time, with a crowd also having a good time as a means of escaping their regular workaday lives. It’s fun, and unapologetically so.

Yeah, so Kotzen didn’t last too long after this. He turned out to be human filth and got caught fucking Rikki Rockett’s missus, so got booted from the band later in 1993. Poison sounded different with him – more mature and subtle, but a lot less chaotic and fun. He was replaced by Blues Saraceno, and eventually CC made up with Bret and got back into the Poison fold.

OK, I gotta say it. Bret, and the rest of the fellas onstage at the Hammersmith Apollo on April 23 1993, that was actually a pretty fucking good time.

I still don’t know where the fuck this CD came from though.

WEDNESDAY 13 Necrophaze

Album · 2019 · Glam Metal
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Kev Rowland
I must be honest; I wasn’t excited when I realised there was a new album available from Wednesday 13. While I quite liked what he did in Murderdolls, his horror glam shtick has been done by other people much better than this, and with better songs as well. I can’t say I was disappointed when I heard it, as it was exactly what I expected with repetitive riffs, some electronic sounds here and there, and a feeling of “I’ve seen this movie before”. I was surprised to see some guests on here though, and while Alice Cooper didn’t push himself too hard on the title cut, Cristina Scabbia definitely added something to “Monster”. Jeff Clayton provided some powerful words to “Be Warned”, which was just him speaking and some delicate spooky piano for accompaniment, and was easily the best original number on the whole album even though it was only just an introduction to the next song, “The Hearse”.

The final song on the album sees Alex Laiho (Children of Bodom) joining in the fun as they work through the W.A.S.P. classic “Animal (Fuck Like A Beast)”. It says something when to my mind the best thing on the album is a cover of a song more than 30 years old. The production is solid, sound is good, but the band really sound as if they are going through the motions. I have seen some rave reviews about this album on the web, but this really isn’t for me. Next.

QUIET RIOT One Night In Milan

Live album · 2019 · Glam Metal
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Kev Rowland
One night in 1981, I made my way to a hotel, to see the band who was playing there. When I got in I walked up to the incredibly small stage, looked at the complete backline of floor to ceiling Marshalls, looked at the size of the amps either side of the stage, then checked again just how high the ceiling was (not very), and knew it was going to be loud, very loud. At 11pm four ex-skinheads from Wolverhampton took to the tiny stage, and promptly tore it up. There will only ever be one Slade, a band that wrote hit after hit, and were metalheads through and through. Quiet Riot have made a career on trying to be Slade, and within the 15 songs on offer there are two Slade covers, but neither are as good as the original. To be honest, Quiet Riot aren’t as good as Quiet Riot used to be, and then with a sound engineer who has gone missing in action the result is a mess.

The line-up features both Frankie Banali on drums and bassist Chuck Wright, who both performed on ‘Metal Health’, guitarist Alex Grossi, who has been in the band for 14 years and new singer James Durbin, who was on 'American Idol' during the tenth season. This doesn’t feel like a live album, more like a good quality bootleg, and it is obvious there has been no “cleaning up” whatsoever. The drums are way too high in the mix, so much so that Banali is often more to the fore than Durbin. Durbin has a good rock voice, just needs to understand his stage patter was out of date in the Eighties, let alone now, and I could quite happily go without hearing him shouting to the crowd, saying how amazing Franke Banalie is etc.

There aren’t many highlight to be fair, as this is an album to be endured as opposed to enjoyed. “Thunderbird” is performed with a piano for the first time since it was recorded, but the Slade songs don’t hit home as they should, “Bang Your Head” doesn’t have the power it deserves (I still have the single I bought at the time!), and the rest are, well, not something to be proud of. The sound is not nearly as clear as it should be, the audience microphones are missing in action, as are the backing vocals, but the drums are always there. Pass.

glam metal movie reviews

NELSON After The Rain (VHS)

Movie · 1991 · Glam Metal
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1967/ 1976
A simple promotional VHS is this with 3 songs from their debut album, one previously unreleased and interview and various footages. Not bad at all.

The music is a melodic Glam Metal without surprises but good. The writing is correct.

The interview and various footages (between the songs) are good as a TV special and for promotional use, because for the rest, in my opinion, nothing of special are contained.

In definitive view: Nelson is a great band with a great songs, if you love melodic Glam Metal. This VHS is a promotional issue and nothing more. But in a Metal discography not disfigure.

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